Practice Concepts

The key to helping any person is to be able to relate to them in a manner that is satisfying and gratifying. This is an enormous task for not only must you have some basic understanding of their worldview (their beliefs about themselves, of other people including what they believe other people believe about them, and their expectations for the future; you must also know thyself. People perceive what they expect to perceive: angry people expect to see offense, etc. Too often we supply the very fodder to assure people with problems in living that they are right to be angry, anxious, or sad. Use these concepts as a means of expanding your own thinking: develop a ‘beginner’s mind’. Nothing is quite as it seems – can you allow the process of change to develop?

Related Content

29 A Horse of a Different Color

Cognitive behavior management, which includes all cognitive and behavior approaches is not psychotherapy and is a completely different level of abstraction from traditional approaches to working with atypical behavior. Cognitive approaches grew out of behavioral approaches and are empirically validated interventions. No psychodynamic or biomedical approach can make such a claim.

28 Transformation from Mental Health to Social Competence

One can hardly help noticing the anomalies in the ‘mental health’ system. Ever since Thomas Szasz wrote the definitive book on the Myth of Mental Illness, doctors, pharmaceutical companies and other fellow travelers have been scrambling to hold a paradigm in crisis together. Yet the anomalies continue and the ‘expert’ medical model leaders are not even sure what a ‘spade’ looks like.

27 Schema

As an analogy, a schema could be considered to act as a ‘strange attractor’ for mental processing. A strange attractor is a term used in chaos theory to indicate how seemingly chaotic processes seek order. An analogy of a ‘strange attractor’ might be easily seen in a stream of water. As the water flows, each molecule of water is independent and random in its behavior.

25 Measuring Social Competence Through Sociometry

Personal support systems are a well-known concern for people suffering from what is commonly known as ‘chronic mental illness’. It has been reported that emotional healthy individuals live in functional psychosocial kinship systems of between twenty and twenty-five persons with whom they are mutually interdependent for affective and instrumental support. Later study found that people with thought disorders had networks averaging thirteen in size. If social competence is a cause, not an effect – we will want to address the issue at an early stage in child development. This article discusses one way to accomplish that goal.

24 Comprehensive Understanding

This article is concerned with addressing the differences between children with developmental difficulties who manifest behavior problems and those whose behavior IS the disability. Since the traditional Functional Behavioral Assessment has been developed and oriented towards the former group and the ‘mental health’ assessments have little meaning other than establishing a diagnosis, we offer here some suggestions as to how to improve the assessment methodology.

23 Transformational Ideas

A person always makes decisions that at the time they consider to be in their best interest. Thus, when people have obvious problems in living, it should be apparent that their ‘inner logic’ is flawed. To help identify a flawed inner logic, it is necessary to help the individual articulate his/her own goals, personal preferences and desires and to seek to understand the barriers to achievement.

22 Reflective Openness

This article discusses guidelines to group decision making behaviors. If you believe that your solution is right, you cannot proceed. If you believe that your solution is best, it can be improved. Ruthless compassion brooks no compromise in both sharing one’s feelings and views and being open to having those views change.

21 Editorial on Promotivation

It was easy to have promotion of myself as a motivation; leaving the impression that working with gang kids [or later with people with schizophrenia] was dangerous when, in fact, it is not. ‘Setting people straight’ was a rather self defeating social strategy as others soon lost interest when they found out that you weren’t James Bond incarnate, facing evil at every turn.

20 Helpful Communication

Since human services provided to people with problems in living are contingent upon the sharing of information, it is surprising how little concern has been shown in regard to our words. If we intend to help people help themselves, it is imperative that we examine closely our words. We need to examine truly our own mental schema and evaluate how much we believe these terms. If thinking controls behavior and communication is a behavior, we must posit that the use of words has at least some bearing on our belief system.


Unless specifically noted all materials are written by Jerome R. Gardner. As you will see by the size of the library contents, the materials are substantial. Since most of the writing was developed as think papers and not for publication, there will inevitably be some areas without proper citation. If you come across any, please notify the site manager and it will be rectified. Other than that, readers may use all materials. While I would prefer recognition, it is not necessary.